Sep 13, 2023

Workplace Violence Prevention Efforts at CRH Supported By New Law

The safety of Columbus Regional Health's workforce is our priority. The formation of the Columbus Regional Hospital Police Department in 2020 has allowed us to have immediate response from law enforcement for workforce members. Prior to the formation of the police department, few workplace violence incidents would be sent to our local prosecutor. Now many more are sent, because of the on-site presence. The CRH Police Department includes 12 police officers and five security officers, one of whom is primarily assigned to the CRHP practice locations. 

Additional efforts to help ensure staff safety is through our Handle with Care (HWC) training, which teaches all clinical staff effective verbal and physical restraint strategies. HWC consists of practical, easy-to-learn techniques and methods that have been tested and proven to work with the most challenging children and adults, including those with special cognitive, emotional, and/or physical needs.

As part of their work, our Workplace Violence Prevention Committee reviews workplace violence incidents and looks at how to incorporate various scenarios in our training and education for staff. 

The Committee also developed the poster at right, which will be placed in various locations throughout the health system - the poster is meant to encourage workforce members to report any incidents of violence and to also remind our patients and visitors that our workforce members have the right to work in an abuse-free workplace. As a reminder, please report any incidents - whether they involve a patient, visitor, or even a fellow workforce member - in our event reporting system or to the CRH Police Department. 

Recently, the State of Indiana enacted the House Enrolled Act (HEA) 1021 - a new law that elevates penalties for attacks on all staff in Indiana emergency departments, where most incidents occur. Prior to the law's passage, protections were only in place for EMTs and paramedics. HEA 1021 includes all staff members of an emergency department of a hospital within the definition of “public safety official," which in addition to physicians and nurses includes aides, environmental staff, support staff, and technicians. The full law can be read here.

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